HUSKER BASEBALL: Home Runs Boost Nebraska Past Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –(NU Athletics May 18)–Nebraska belted three home runs in a 10-5 win in the series opener at Purdue on Thursday night, tying the single-season record of 93 set by the Huskers in 1985.

Nebraska (30-20-1, 14-8 Big Ten) scored 10 runs on 12 hits and an error, while Purdue (23-28, 10-12 Big Ten) totaled five runs on 14 hits.

Emmett Olson threw four innings in the scheduled shortened start, allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. Corbin Hawkins improved to 4-0 on the season after dealing 2.1 innings. Hawkins allowed one run on four hits and a pair of strikeouts. Shay Schanaman and Kyle Perry combined to pitch the final 2.2 innings.

Max Anderson led NU at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI, two runs and a walk. With his 20th homer of the season, Anderson moves into a tie for eighth with Brice Matthews and Steve Stanicek (1982) for most homers in a single-season at Nebraska.

Casey Burnham was 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored. Charlie Fischer had 2-for-4 night with a home run and a walk. Gabe Swansen went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, while Josh Caron, Dylan Carey, Garrett Anglim and Blake Mozley tallied one hit apiece.

The Huskers threatened quickly in the opening frame, loading the bases with one out. Burnham reached on a fielder’s choice before a single by Anderson and a four-pitch walk to Swansen. Caron lifted an 0-1 pitch to center for a sacrifice fly, plating Burnham to give the Huskers a 1-0 lead.

Olson worked an efficient first inning, using just 10 pitches and inducing an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play to keep it a 1-0 game through one inning.

Paul Toetz’s single through the left side, followed by CJ Valdez’s two-out two-run homer into the Purdue bullpen in left gave the Boilermakers a 2-1 lead in the second.

Nebraska tied the game at two with one run on a pair of hits in the third. Caron drew a two-count walk, and Fischer singled through the right side to place runners on first and second with no outs. Caron plated the tying run after Carey blooped an RBI single into shallow left field.

The Boilermakers loaded the bases in the bottom fourth, but Olson maintained the 2-2 tie with his fifth strikeout of the night.

The Husker jumped out to 5-2 lead behind three hits in the seventh. Burnham lined the first pitch he faced down the left-field line for a double to begin the inning. Purdue chose to intentionally walk Anderson in the next at-bat to place runners on first and second with no outs.

Swansen ultimately made the Boilermakers pay, as he demolished a 418-foot three-run homer that cleared the Purdue bullpen in left to give Nebraska the three-run lead in the seventh.

Back-to-back one-out hits and a four-pitch walk loaded the bases for Purdue in the bottom of the seventh. An RBI groundout plated a run and brought the Boilermakers within 5-3 through seven innings.

Nebraska tacked on four insurance runs on four hits in the eighth to expand the lead to 9-3. Anglim opened the inning with a double down the left-field line, while Mozley reached on a bunt single to place runners on first and third. Anglim sprinted home on Burnham’s RBI bunt single to grow the lead to three.

Following Burnham’s RBI bunt single, Anderson blew the game open with a 375-foot three-run homer into the Boilermaker bullpen in left field to stretch the lead to 9-3 in the eighth.

The Boilermakers got one of the runs back with a pair of doubles in the bottom of the eighth. Schanaman got out of the inning with an 0-2 strikeout of Mike Bolton Jr., which prompted the ejections and quick exits of Purdue head coach Greg Goff and Bolton Jr.

Fischer smacked a first-pitch 364-foot solo home run down the right-field line into the Nebraska bullpen to begin the top of the ninth and make it a 10-4 game.

Purdue scored one run on three hits in the bottom of the ninth to clinch Nebraska’s series-opening 10-5 victory.

Nebraska and Purdue are scheduled to continue the series tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT at Alexander Field.